In 2013 Maria Kang, founder of No Excuse Mom went viral for a controversial photo showing off her toned body with her three sons, with a heading that read, “What’s your excuse?”
Since then, the viral fit mom
has been repeatedly accused of setting unrealistic body expectations for women and supposedly “fat-shaming” curvy mothers with her fitness photos. To this, Kang responded that her message was not directed at shaming anyone and that the backlash she received calling her a “shame to women” was essentially “fit-shaming.”
“All I’ve tried to imply is that my body is representative of what health looks like. Of course, there are different ways to look healthy,” Kang told ABC News in a 2013 interview.
“The problem is, we are normalizing what people should look like; overweight and obese. We can’t normalize this and that’s my problem with it. You are sending the message that being obese is OK.”
Recently, Kang has shared another viral post with her thousands of followers, opening up about her depression, body dysmorphia, bulimia, and health struggles due to her breast augmentation, admitting that she had fallen into an “insecurity trap.”
“Immediately after my surgery, I underwent complications: from a hematoma, lack of sensation and numbness. It always felt foreign and uncomfortable to me and impeded on my ability to effectively nurse my sons,” she wrote.
“But like many – despite how I felt, I loved how I looked. Breast implants are normalized throughout the fitness industry. There was no way for me to be lean and have fatty breast tissue at the same time.”
The tough decision to explant came roughly a month ago after Kang experienced worsening health complications, “I began feeling heart palpitations, chronic fatigue, dry eyes, joint pain, and weight gain. I was perennially exhausted and finally said enough is enough,” she said.
“I explanted one month ago and since then my fatigue immediately went away. My eyes don’t feel heavy. My inflammation has declined and most of all – I feel FREE. I feel ME.”
Kang added, “I feel like I’m finally leaving the young, insecure and impressionable girl I once was and am coming into the strong and confident woman I am today.”
“I hope we all learn to love our bodies, at all sizes, in all forms, and at all stages.”
Kang spoke to NextShark about her most recent post regarding her breast implant complications and what message she’s hoping to share with other women.
“I think all women and men need to do their due diligence when it comes to any form of plastic surgery. There are many risks involved, especially with implants as they are foreign, silicone objects (even saline – which I had – is shelled with silicone),” she said.
“We put our bodies at risk all the time, whether it’s by the food we eat, how often we travel, etc. What’s most important is to weigh the costs and medical risks when engaging in any activity.”
While breast implants remain immensely popular among women who are interested in going under the knife, conversation on their health implications is not at the forefront of this discussion.
“When I had my breasts done years ago, I was never told of the risks, none of my friends were told,” Kang shared.
“In fact, I’ve had friends who implanted a few months ago and tell me they were told the implants were ‘lifetime guaranteed’ (I hear this statement often btw). That is completely false. The majority of women get their implants replaced or removed within the first 10 years. Ruptures, leakage, capsular contracture, and cancer are all possibilities!”
In addition to commenting on her present self, she revisited the controversy of her “What’s Your Excuse?” photo six years later.
“I’ve always loved the ‘What’s Your Excuse?’ photo and stand strongly behind my intentions behind it,” Kang insisted. “I know a lot of people were inspired by that fitspiration post and because of the conversation and controversy, I was able to inspire thousands of moms to join No Excuse Mom communities where they workout in the parks for free.”
“However, I also understood the backlash and why there was criticism behind it as there IS a lot of pressure to be fit, especially after childbirth. Considering my youngest was 8 months at the time and I was not promoting (to myself) an unrealistic weight, I didn’t think it was an outrageous image.”
Despite the previous backlash, Kang says her platform is a space built for building other women up and spreading body positivity. “My platform has always been used as a space for sharing my thoughts, workouts, challenges, etc. I was one of the first ‘fit moms’ who showed her stretchmarks and excess skin, I think I’m one of the only fitness book covers that have stretch marks on the cover!” she explained.
“Body Positivity has always been my focus. Even with getting implants, most people didn’t know I had them – until I told them!”
Between these two periods, from her first viral post to her most recent, Kang has undoubtedly grown as a person as she reflects on her past decisions. “What I am apologetic for, however, is having an unnatural physique that can only be attained through plastic surgery,” she told us.
“I always struggled with emails from mothers who asked about their breasts post children. The fact was, that mine was fine due to surgery. However, now that the implants are gone, I definitely look like I’ve nursed three kids!”